Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Few Weeks

Hello everyone, sorry to not write sooner. 

These first two weeks have been packed: I'm putting together a community profile, planning Holiday Club, and helping with/attending church programs. I have met so many amazing people and really been welcomed into this little church family.

One family has a daughter about my age who is in town from university for a year long internship and we have been able to hang out. On Friday, we scoured the local bookshops and visited the library so I am set on reading material for this week anyways! She is working on a music degree and we like a lot of the same books and movies-- we are even planning on doing some music recording stuff and working with her new recording equipment! 

Neil and Rachel, my hosts, are also really great. Neil is a conservator at the Cathedral and Rachel works in the  YMCA but both actually have art degrees, Neil in sculpting and Rachel in textiles. I've brought out my sketchbook some and we talk about (and admire) art in TV, books, and other people's houses. So that's neat. Neil has a very dry sense of humor, rather sarcastic, which is fun. Rachel is really kind and seems quiet at first, but she is really funny and has definite opinions. We've been out shopping and she even came with me to the Harry Potter Midnight Showing (we dressed up of course!) which was marvelous in itself!  Such a great night that was. 

Jonathan, the youth pastor, is a really nice guy-- great people skills. He doesn't like the administrative side of things, so my strengths balance out working with him. He knows like everyone in the community and has connections everywhere; he really represents the church in the community and does a fantastic job.

There aren't many people here my age other than Hilary-- the young adult group is Neil and Rachel, Jonathan and Evalina, Libby, Hannah, Hilary, and Me. Hilary's younger brother is 18, so he may join in too. Libby and Hannah both are out of school with jobs and kids and lives-- while it's a university town, many of the college kids go to New Life church, which sounds a bit like TCAL but more liberal. I'd like to meet a few more people my age to hang out with on off days, but I know God will take care of all that (and yes, this means no cute guys around, which is good, I focus better without them lol).

I have been invited to have dinner or Sunday lunch with several families in the church over the past two weeks and I've made friends with many of the people there during the week working with toddler-and-parent ministries or senior citizen ministries. This church is full of life and tons of exciting things are going on already. Right now, I am fitting in, getting to know people, and learning about the ministries. I may have a hand in getting more going for the young adults, but I am excited to already be a part of the thriving youth and children's ministry here.

This week, please pray for Jonathan and the youth because they are on mission to Poland. Pray God will give me the strength to finish this last of my classes this week and just for the church and God's work here. I am so thankful to have so many people back home who care and are supporting me: I love you all! How can I be praying for you this week?

I hope things are well and everyone is wonderful,
Lots of love and internationally yours,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baptism with Water AND Fire

After arriving in England, I was given a day off to unpack and rest, which was lovely-- I actually took a nap (sleeping when the suns out! ah!) and walked around the town. Lincoln is a really cool little town; it's got the population of Waco compressed into a fourth of the space. Within walking distance are the church, the youth pastor's house, Rachel's work, Neil's work (which is that awesome cathedral), the castle (they have a castle!!!), Steep Hill ( a street with all these posh shops and tea houses), as well as Town, where one goes to shop, find the farmer's market, eat, or just hang out.

Friday was my first official day, which began with a trip to see Town with Jonathan (youth minister, my boss), and we went by the library so now I have a library card. Friday night was...interesting. Actually, it was a lot of fun but I almost froze to death! Well, my feet were blue.

The youth hang out at the church on Friday nights and this week there was a water fight-- despite the fact that it was raining, about 65 degrees F, and the sun was no where in sight. But we bravely filled up our water guns and balloons, split into teams (junior high boys against the girls, younger boys, and one older boy-- very evenly distributed). It only rained on us a few times in the midst of this watery war but we all got entirely soaked. Jonathan and another youth leader, Philip, encouraged the junior high boys to make sure I was welcomed wetly... but it was loads of fun involving shrieking, strategizing, breaking the no-man's land to toss buckets of water...lovely. :)

Saturday is my official day off and I was invited on a picnic with a church family who have a daughter my age. We drove about an hour to Clumber Park , which is actually part of Sherwood Forest, and their gift shop was full of Robin Hood stuff! The family was really nice-- it ended up being their family, an aunt, two cousins, grandma, and two university (college is called uni here) friends, so there was the great pack of us. The kids (age 13-22) rented bikes and took of around the lake while the adults watched cricket (I'm beginning to figure out the local sports-- but there are a lot of NBA fans, including a guy who supports the!). The ride was lovely, the company fun, and the day simply fantastic-- sunny enough to actually get hot! Post-biking, we found an ice cream truck and they have the best chocolate here! Cadbury Flake, which gets stuck in ice cream all the time apparently, it like frosting but hardened and really great-tasting! (addicted after having one other Flake with chocolate yogurt this week.... so I don't go into candy stores...) (side note-- this computer keeps deciding my American spelling is wrong-- which it often is, but that spells "yogurt" just fine thanks. And apparently commas are passée here-- because they are not anywhere!)

After a great day at the park, this super cool famalia invited me to come back with them for dinner-- which was a legit BBQ. Ribs, chicken, burgers, and dogs with some of the greatest BBQ sauce EVER!!!! (Thanks for the intro Chris!! ;) And then just hanging out for the evening. So very lovely.

Sunday was the first day of church which was solidly good. Lincoln Baptist Church (LBC) is about the size of Crawford Baptist Church (FBC) though apparently this was a poorly-attended service. So it's just bigger. About half-way through the service, everyone 18 and under (along with leaders, of course) left for Sunday school. With me and three new guys, we played ice-breaking games most of the time. The youth group is very chill-- laid back and fun, but they can be serious and seem to know really well when they can be goofy and when they need to calm down. Lunch was a full roast dinner with another church family, this one with kids 13, 12, and 8-- spaced about like my family and acting about the same at lunch with Important People (calm and polite for the first half, more chatty and fun, by dessert yelling across the table occasionally and everyone talking at once). It was brilliant! I love how people are just taking me in and being so welcoming and friendly-- I feel pseudo-adopted by like four of the church ladies and very much a part of the church family.

Sunday evening, the youth led the service. After singing along a bit during their practice, I was (so reluctantly ;) ) drafted into singing with two other girls, given a mic, and put on stage in front of everyone. Obviously I minded so much, lol. It was great to be singing and sharing my gifts again. I do really love singing and between the water fight, being introduced in church Sunday morning (oh, I was introduced in church Sunday morning), and singing on Sunday night, I feel fully part of this church. I am really excited seeing God's work here as well as looking at plans for the future and how the church and community board are working together to bring help and God's love (well, the council is more about just helping, but it's servant leadership right?) to more people in the area is really neat. I can just see God's hand in getting me here now and am beginning to really dream for LBC. The youth are really legit (really really really). There is so much talent and maturity among these kids (the music at the service blew me away!) and they are looking for God's will and looking for that deeper relationship. They seem friendly, well-grounded as a whole (there's a few goofballs, but ya know, junior high guys, lol). It's been really good overall so far.

Please pray for me as I continue my hyper-schedule (more about this actual week later... and you know, actual thoughts and stuff) and pray for the youth group as they go their separate ways for the summer holiday. Pray they will all return and bring friends!

Now, how can I be praying for you?

Thanks for your support, prayers, and love; I couldn't do any of this without my awesome peeps back home.
Lots of Love to you,
Internationally Yours,

Friday, July 8, 2011


Here! In England!
(Note: I'm going to over-excite you with exclamation points by the way... be careful if you have hypertension, are on meds, or may be pregnant... Or just enjoy the update, ya know.)

So the last day with mi familia was a little hard-- I kept getting super sentimental and shoving it back down. Admittedly, lunch as fabulous Pappadeux helped ease my nerves. My parents dropped me off and I choked out a "Goodbye, I love you!" before heading through security (not too hard, actually, but I had to pull my external hard-drive out of my carry-on bag and remove it from it's nest of scarves. Sure the other guys in line looooved that...). Then I waited. For like three hours. Because we get nervous about time like that, lol.

About ten minutes after I finished my novel, they called for us and we got on this gigantic plane. (My carry-on aka hand luggage aka small wheeled suitcase aka wheelie bag <-- (my fav!) didn't even have to go in the over-head bins but got tucked into a cupboard because the overhead bin over me was full. On the other flight, there was enough space for me to have my own bin. So we really didn't have to sweat over the strict airport size regulations.) The seat next to me was empty, which was MAGNIFICENT on such a crowded plane.

The guy in the window seat was really cool; he was leading a mission trip to East Asia with a ministry called the Burn which seems like a fairly legit ministry. We swapped called-by-God, God-is-awesome, look-what-God-did stories for the hour before dinner and now we are prayer buddies for our trips. Oh, and he knows Gilbert Morris! This  dude. Pretty cool-- I gave him my writer's card to pass along to friend Gilbert. (Dinner was curried chicken... it was pretty good, thankfully the one kind of curry I actually like, lol. The cheesecake was good; the roll saddened me. Mom, you or Allie would have been depressed by the quality of the carbs offered...) Watched a movie (thoughts at and slept, my dreams punctuated by one of the kiddos on board about every hour. Breakfast was served (about par with dinner) and then I was in London, a nine hour flight that took me fifteen hours into the future. :)
London to Manchester was a hop, skip, and a jump, though we had a nicer plane than Waco to Dallas. Arrival was easy (customs and all happened in London) and I wrestled all my bags out to the pick-up area.

Rachel picked me up along with James, a gentleman from the church. The ride to Lincoln found me sleeping again and then we got here, to this wonderful little house I'm staying in. With these fantastic people who are becoming quick friends.

So more about settling in when I write tomorrow (this is waaay too long already but it's an adventure! Within an adventure!)

For now, please be praying I won't be overwhelmed by my work here, that God will do great things here, and that I will be obedient and draw near to the Lord.

How can I be praying for you?

Internationally Yours,

Monday, July 4, 2011


I leave tomorrow! For England! For five whole months!

It's a little scary-- I've never been so far away before or been away from home for that long. But I trust that God will take care of me and I hope this will be a wonderful experience. I've heard a bit from the youth workers and ministry leaders at the church (yay Facebook!)  as well as my host family and everyone has been very kind and welcoming.

Earlier this week, I was having some doubts about whether I was supposed to go, but then a dear friend made a very generous contribution and put my last-minute fears to rest. God has prvided the means, the way, and the work- I can't wait to get there!
Please be praying for me and let me know if I can pray for you :)

Talk to you from across the pond!
Internationally Yours,